Mysten Labs and the case for a brand-new blockchain

October 3, 2022, 1:15 PM UTC
Sui Blockchain
The Sui blockchain aspires to deliver Ethereum-style capabilities but with better design and tools for scaling.
Courtesy of Mysten Labs

The crypto world is awash in blockchains—many of which serve no discernible purpose—and so when a new one comes along, I’m skeptical. Yet when I spoke with Adeniyi Abiodun, one of a team of Facebook vets who recently raised an eye-popping $300 million for a new chain, I was intrigued.

Abiodun is one of five veterans of Facebook’s ill-starred crypto project who left to found Mysten Labs, a company building something called the Sui blockchain that aspires to deliver Ethereum-style capabilities but with better design and tools for scaling. According to Abiodun, it’s “ludicrous” existing blockchains (including Ethereum) become much more expensive as more people use them—an inversion of the economies-of-scale model that powers Silicon Valley.

He describes these blockchain issues as the “throughput problem” and says the Sui blockchain has solved them by the same “object-based” programming that’s prevalent in other computer systems, including his former employers Oracle and Facebook, which are adept at handling millions or billions or users. I lack the computer science knowledge to offer a proper assessment, but the idea seems to be that this style of programming can eliminate transaction choke points—and soaring blockchain fees—by having activities take place in parallel across many realms. The upshot, according to Abiodun, is that the forthcoming Sui blockchain can address a surge in demand simply by adding more hardware while the cost stays the same. He says it’s the blockchain equivalent of going from dial-up internet to fiber.

Meanwhile, Abiodun says Sui is focusing on three killer apps: finance, digital commerce, and gaming. In the case of gaming, he says Mysten Labs is exploring partnerships with South Korean game giants to build blockchain-based experiences where fun is the first priority while token economics come later. He says this would amount to a reversal of the prominent crypto game Axie Infinity, which he derides as “a spreadsheet that looks like a game.”

I have no idea if any of this will come to pass, especially as earlier high-profile projects such as Dfinity and Polkadot raised huge buckets of money to deliver a faster, better blockchain experience and have so far had little to show for it. But as Abiodun notes, blockchain technology has changed little over the past five years, and the market may be ready for something like Sui whose primary focus is excellent user design and whose costs decline the more people use it. We’ll see. In the meantime, find our rapid roundup of the latest crypto news below.

Jeff John Roberts


If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em: After criticizing FTX’s proposal to let traders cut out middlemen and post collateral directly to CME’s Bitcoin futures exchange, CME is floating a similar service of its own.

The founder of Celsius Networks withdrew $10 million for himself in May—only weeks before the company froze customer accounts and soon after declaring bankruptcy.

This weekend’s F1 race in Singapore featured no crypto ads around the track, likely as a result of regulatory scrutiny, though cars and drivers’ uniforms still showed the ads.

Solana suffered another major outage late Friday night, apparently because of a faulty node.

Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin discussed his new book of essays and the idea of decentralized governance with popular columnist and podcast host Ezra Klein.


A Zillow listing for a “Crypto House.” Your guess is as good as ours.

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